Letters

This is no way for Namibia police to treat innocent guests

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Posted  Saturday, April 21  2012 at  12:07
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On a recent overland trip from Uganda through Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia, my partner and I were stopped at a roadblock for a minor traffic offence at Okongwati in Northern Namibia.

The police with no justification, physically assaulted me, forcing my partner to insist on taking me to a clinic some 40km away, where I remained unconscious for between two and three hours.

We were detained for more than six hours, were denied any consular access, access to legal people or family, and denied any identification of the people who carried out the violence against me.

The offence was that we were not wearing seatbelts, despite our explanation that after travelling on a particularly difficult and dangerous road in floods where we had repeatedly had to leave our vehicle to ensure the road was passable, and where it would have been hazardous to have a seatbelt secured.

We were detained at the scene, and tried to explain the situation, but the six officers were aggressive and unhelpful.

We provided details of the car and the driving license but I was reluctant to hand over the passport which we instead clearly showed them the details from the data page for identification purposes.

The officers then became very aggressive and threatened to arrest me.

I insisted that we had done nothing wrong and questioned why they needed to retain my passport.

In no way was I abusive but insistent over my rights. They then physically tried to place handcuffs on me for no reason or justification, which I understandably resisted.

I was then attacked by four officers whilst my partner who also had done nothing, was handcuffed.

One placed both his hands around my throat, two threw me to the ground and hit me, I was thrown into the back of a van where again I was hit whilst still in handcuffs.

According to my partner who inspected me a short time after, he noticed I was unconscious and insisted on me being taken to hospital.

I was unconscious for more than two hours where according to him my treatment was poor and ineffective.

We were then threatened with arrest, though it was never made entirely clear whether this was the case, and on what grounds we were being arrested, there was continual collusion between officers as to their statements, statements by officers were clearly fabricated and then agreed between them, we were denied any contact with our embassy, family, nor made aware of any of our rights.

We were repeatedly denied any way of identifying the officers concerned, my partners camera was confiscated and pictures showing me unconscious were removed very aggressively.

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